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recycling the process of recovering and reusing waste productsfrom household use manufacturing agriculture and businessand thereby reducing their burden on the environment During World War I and World War II shortages of essential materials led to collection drives for silk rubber and other commodities In recent years the environmental benefits of recycling have become a major component of waste management programsFor many years direct recycling by producers of surplus and defective materials constituted the main form of recycling However indirect recycling the recycling of materials after their use by consumers has become the focus of activity in the 1990s For some time most solid waste has been deposited in landfills or dumps Landfills are filling up however and disposal of wastes in them has led to environmental problems Also government which had little authority over disposal of wastes until the 1970s now has extensive regulatory powersA growing alternative to such disposal is recycling Industry has found that when it undertakes serious recycling programs the savings can be considerable In addition to reducing manufacturing and materials costs such programs can insulate the companies from liability for environmental violations Agriculture which is the cause of much environmental degradation can use organic recycling or the reuse of manure and crop residues sometimes called green manureWater in one sense is always recycled inasmuch as there is a finite amount of it available on earth and it constantly moves through its cycle of evaporation condensation and precipitation Deliberate programs for recycling water include use of wetlands as areas to filter harmful wastes from the substance or using partly treated sewage for raising fish Municipal sewage- and water-treatment plants of course are fundamental recycling agentsThe individual consumer plays a large part in recycling Originally household containers such as beverage cans and bottles were recycled as a matter of course with a glass beer container or milk bottle being refilled as many as 30 times in 1935 brewers began putting their products
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